Talking Points
Citizens Can Contribute to the Policy Process

These are extraordinary times for Hong Kong. The ongoing upheaval means we are a long way from “business as usual” and companies across a wide range of sectors are suffering. 

Some have been hit directly, and few can say they have escaped unscathed, as the uncertainty is making it very difficult for all businesses to make plans.

Right now, the sporadic violence on weekends by a small group of radicals shows no sign of being resolved. However, it is worth remembering that Hong Kong has survived major storms in the past. We truly hope to see the end of the conflict soon, so we can start to heal the divisions in society and get back on track for a peaceful and prosperous future.

All eyes will be on the Chief Executive when she delivers her Policy Address later this month. In our submission to the Government, we reflect the business community’s concern about the impact of the current unrest, as well as proposals for the longer term, such as refining our tax system to ensure we stay competitive.

One of our key suggestions is on the importance of proper public consultation before any new regulations are introduced. The strength of citizens’ opposition to the now-withdrawn extradition bill took the Government by surprise. Having a more transparent and public regulatory impact assessment (RIA) mechanism in place would have alerted lawmakers to concerns much earlier. 

SMEs are often hardest hit by temporary economic difficulties, and we appreciate the action the Government has already taken to support smaller businesses. We ask that the Government will ensure that Hong Kong’s SMEs are able to quickly and easily access the funds they are entitled to. 

Improving the quality of life for Hong Kong people is another key point in our submission. The lack of affordable housing is a long-term cause for discontent, and we reiterate our support for the Task Force on Land Supply to carry out a multi-pronged strategy to create more housing in the short term as well as for the future. 

Moreover, when the dust settles, perhaps it will be the time for the Government to start helping society plan for 2047 and beyond. This is a key issue on the public’s and businesses’ minds, and will require extensive dialogue with all parties to help give society confidence in their future. 

Aron Harilela
chairman@chamber.org.hk

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